‘Straight Outta Compton’ Forgot The Massive Tension Between Dr. Dre And Easy-E

Straight Outta Compton is still dominating the box office. Only Monday will tell if Straight Outta Compton can rule theater screens for a fourth weekend. Whatever the outcome, Straight Outta Compton has certainly pleased hip hop fans and surprised movie critics with its portrayal of the beginnings of a rap dynasty.

But Straight Outta Compton missed a major hip hop beef, a rap battle on wax for the masses. There was a scene showing Suge Knight’s crew leaving Easy-E with a beat down for the ages over Dr. Dre’s recording contract, but there was also a lyrical beat down dealt out around the same time, with a different outcome. Both Easy-E and Dr. Dre exchanged verbal onslaughts on wax, and Dr. Dre wasn’t necessarily the clear winner there. Easy-E also claimed to still be receiving royalties for Dr. Dre records produced after he moved to Death Row Records, even on records insulting him.

Straight Outta Compton did portray diss tracks involving Ice Cube, and N.W.A.’s response after he left to record his solo album. The winner was Ice Cube with his song “No Vaseline.” Ice Cube took on the remaining members of N.W.A. and demonstrated his superiority for rhyme writing. Though Easy-E wasn’t known for writing his own rhymes, and only developing his talent on the microphone after coaching by other members of N.W.A., his response to Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s “Dre Day” was intense.

As the Village Voice reports, certain pivotal moments were left out of the movie. On “Real Muthaph**kkin G’s,” Easy-E, along with Knocc Out and Dresta, talk about how Dr. Dre is a “studio gangsta,” along with the Easy-E lookalike that Dre used in his video getting chased by a huge Compton posse. The video is a menacing response and was sure to provoke embarrassment if used in Straight Outta Compton. It would also further demonstrate that Easy-E was the only actual gangster in N.W.A.

What further came out of these records is actually something positive and beneficial for the city of Compton. Rather than the divisive nature of diss tracks, a diss track actually led to a holiday. June 19 is Dre Day in Compton, California. Despite city officials in Compton traditionally distancing themselves from the city’s gangsta rap claim to fame, the current Compton mayor is figuring out creative ways to embrace it in small and diplomatic doses.

Dre Day is the day when Compton celebrates Dr. Dre and other locally born hip hop artists as entrepreneurs. It’s a way to attract funding to the city and pride in its residents. Talking about current mayor Aja Brown, the L.A. Weekly described the reason for Compton’s change in attitude towards its most famous pop culture export after Dr. Dre made a windfall payday with his headphone company.

“But following the sale of Beats last year, Brown did something of a pivot. She offered Dre the key to the city, and in the same breath asked for his help sponsoring local programs. It’s clear that his entrepreneurial prowess and not, say, ‘Deeez Nuuuts,’ impressed her.”

So, the men from Straight Outta Compton are starting to get credit from the city of Compton, as long as they share the wealth.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]
[Image via Franklin Wright]